Thomas Austin Davis, 93, a dentist in Oreland for half a century, died Thursday, March 5, of a heart attack at Chestnut Hill Hospital, where he had been on the staff.

Born in Memphis to James and Pearl Owen Davis, Dr. Davis was one of seven children.

During World War II, all four of the Davis boys, who were close in age, were drafted. All came back. Dr. Davis was sent to Burma as a medic and X-ray technician, his family said.

He attended Columbia Union College, now Washington Adventist University, and earned his doctor of dental surgery degree from the Dental School of the University of Pennsylvania. After graduation, he practiced "gentle care dentistry," as he called it, from his home office in Oreland. He retired in 2013 after a career of 52 years but told his family he had retired too soon.

Dr. Davis served on the staff of Chestnut Hill Hospital in the dental surgery department and was a member of the Academy of General Dentistry. He served as a member and past president of the National Association of Seventh-day Adventist Dentists in Loma Linda, Calif.

His family said Dr. Davis was loved by his patients for his gentle, soft-spoken manner. "He never hurried," said his wife, June Robbins Smith Davis.

He attended Philadelphia Chestnut Hill Seventh-day Adventist Church, where he served as an elder and on the board of directors for many years.

An avid tennis player, Dr. Davis received various amateur tournament awards. He was an accomplished saxophone and clarinet player, practicing and performing until just before his death.

Dr. Davis was married to Marian MacNeil; she died in 1982. Two years later, he married June Smith. The two worked together in his dental office. "We had our best moments there. I was his right-hand man," she said.

Surviving, in addition to his wife, are a daughter, Carol Ann Jones; son William A.; three step-daughters, Lori Laferriere, Jennifer Gursky, and Pamela Smith; five grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

A 9:30 a.m. viewing and 10:30 a.m. funeral Monday, March 16, at Philadelphia Chestnut Hill Seventh-day Adventist Church, 8700 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia 19118, will be followed by a graveside service with full military honors at 2 p.m. at Washington Crossing National Cemetery, 830 Highland Rd., Newtown.

Donations may be made to the Church Building Fund at the address above or via www.chestnuthillsda.org.

bcook@phillynews.com

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